Day 5 – Iceland to Germany
Our flight from Iceland to Germany required us to be at the airport before 6 AM. This meant we had to get up early as we had to pack our belongings as well as do a rudimentary clean up of the house.
Depending on the rental, requirements on departure usually include emptying garbage, doing the dishes, and possibly stripping the bedding and starting laundry.
We also had to return the rental car. This was all tempered by the fact that we arrived at priority check in as we were traveling with kids! Icelandair has been fantastic on both flights- I’d highly recommend them.
Boarding was interesting … we checked in at our gate (on a lower level concourse) and then were bused to our plane, where we boarded outside. I don’t know why I thought it was so cool – but I did. I don’t think I’ve ever boarded a huge international flight from the ground.
We had a relatively short flight to Germany where we planned to rent a van and drive to my sister’s home for our stay here as she and her family had recently relocated from the states.
She and her family surprised us at the airport! I have always seen the long emotional hugs after being reunited with a loved one in an airport but have never had that experience until today. We were all so happy to see her, her hubs and our nephew.
We picked up the van we rented for the entire rest of the vacation. It was enormous. I am glad we rented the 9-passenger over the 7-passenger though as the added space was well worth the cost and extra insurance. Scott followed my sister to her home… on the autobahn at 100 mph!
We spent the afternoon catching up at her house and then walked into town for an authentic German dinner including schnitzel. We finished with ice cream, exploring her town, and some kids accidentally (on purpose ) jumping in the fountain in the town square.
We went from beautiful natural scenery in Iceland, to amazing history in Germany. We took a short drive to Idar-Oberstein, a mining town with a church built right into the side of a mountain!
The Felsenkirche was built from 1482-1484!!! The church is entered through a tunnel and dug into the rock. There is a gorgeous view of the city from the church.
We walked up some pretty serious steps to reach it… and literally, the narrow path was right at the doors of residences of the city… and through a gorgeous little park. It was incredible!
Continuing along the path above the church, we came to the remains of the old palatial castle built in 1197!!! And at the top of the hill was the remains of the “new” palatial castle built in 1336! It was crazy to realize these buildings were built before Columbus sailed to reach America.
After our climb up and down, we ate at the most amazing Italian restaurant outside and enjoyed some delicious food and some wonderful company. We ended the night with a walk for ice cream ( of course) and fun in the fountain ( again) and playtime in the park!
Day 7 – 4th of July In Germany
We were up early this morning (we must finally be adjusting to the time change – it is an eight hour difference. I had read that it takes about a day per time zone so we are almost right on at day 7 and 8 time zones) My sister and I went to the bakery to get fresh baked goods for breakfast, and then to the grocery store. She literally carried her shopping basket as we walked through town, picking out chocolate croissants and Apfel muffins- and I sort of felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast in her opening song walking through town living her provincial life. 🙂
It also happened to be July 4th and believe me when I say if you can’t be in the US – a town near a US military base is a pretty lovely spot to celebrate. We were included in a 4th of July party at the most beautiful home of my sister’s boss. A barbecue with some of the military and civilian workers stationed overseas.
Unfortunately, on arrival, a nameless to protect the identity child got sick all over the lawn. Scott took the child back to my sister’s house and nursed the child back to health (read-watched the child sleep all afternoon) while I was able to stay with my sister, her family and the other 4 kids at the dinner party.
The life stories that they shared with me were heroic, exciting and inspiring; most of them dedicating careers and lives to protect the freedoms we celebrate today. It was humbling – the sacrifices made daily for our privileges – so much appreciated.
We came home to find sick child well recovered ( bug? Foreign food and water? Not sure at all but 100% better this evening -) praise God!
Kids had a water balloon fight and played some water balloon baseball in the backyard before heading to bed while the adults sat, talked and enjoyed each other’s company.
Day 8 – Germany to Prague (it is so beautiful)
We had to leave my sister’s house but we planned to start and end our trip at their house so we will be back after our trip and spend a few more days with them before heading back to the US. Scott took the kids to the bakery for breakfast- chocolate croissants, danishes and muffins, a perfect way to start the day.
We drove about 6 hours from her house to Prague stopping in Heidelberg for lunch. We were able to see the Heidelberg Castle and walk through the town but didn’t plan enough time to explore as well as we would have liked. But we had to continue on to get to Prague.